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November 2013
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How to Maintain Your Email List

Your email subscriber list is one of your company’s most valuable assets. While
it can be tempting to set it and forget it when it comes to email marketing, your list
needs to be maintained. As a marketer, you want subscribers who are interested
and engaged in the information you have to share.
Here are four things every business should do to maximize the success of their list:

1. Segment Your List

Often the larger your list, the lower your open rate will be. This is because not every
message will appeal to every subscriber. Instead, smart marketers segment the list,
creating subgroups that are targeted for different things. To best understand what
your subscribers want to hear from you, let them choose which list they want to be
on. For example, you can create a list for promotions, another list for your biweekly
newsletter, another list for weekly tips and another list for vendors.
If you haven’t offered segmenting yet, it’s not too late. Simply send subscribers an
email allowing them to update their profile, selecting which lists they’d like to be
added to.

2. Allow Subscribers to Opt-Out

By law you must give subscribers an opportunity to opt-out of your email list, and
placing your opt-out button in an easy-to-find section of your email will establish
trust with your audience. Most opt-out forms ask the subscriber to enter his email
address and a reason for leaving. You can also give your subscribers an option to
change their subscription preferences, such as remove their addresses from certain
segments of your list or reduce the frequency of the emails you receive from them –
see why segmenting your list is a great idea!

It’s also a great idea to look at your opt-out reports to discover why people are
leaving. While you can’t correspond with someone who opts out, you can use this
information to better engage with your active subscribers.

3. Clean Out Inactive Subscribers

If a subscriber hasn’t opened your email in over a year, you might consider
removing them from your list. Your goal as a marketer is to engage with your
customers, and you can’t do this if your emails aren’t being opened. A study on
email performance by Marketo found that a significant percentage of subscribers
are inactive, not opening or reading emails and not bothering to unsubscribe. In
other words, you’re wasting your time and money by continuing to send to them.
You have two ways to handle this: remove inactive subscribers from your list or ask
them to re-confirm their subscription and/or opt out.

4. Eliminate Bounced Addresses

Every time you send an email campaign, some of the emails will bounce. This
could be due to email addresses that are no longer valid or full inboxes. After each
campaign, take a look at your bounce report. Occasionally email addresses are listed
as being non valid in error. If you suspect this is the case, follow up individually with
the subscriber. Otherwise, you should remove the address from future mailings,
lowering your bounce rate and improving your open rate.

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